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NRIDS Needs Your Help – Solve the Connectivity Crisis in Syangja, Nepal Print
Friday, 20 March 2009 05:22

Teens practicing typing at a CIC in SyangjaWith minimal financial resources and by relying on the support of its dedicated volunteers, NRIDS has succeeded in establishing five community information centers (CICs) throughout the Syanjga district in central Nepal.  Syangja’s CICs are based on a model carefully tailored to local needs, and are able to remain sustainable while offering computer training, business services, and information access to Syangja’s residents.

Unfortunately, Syanjga’s CICs face a connectivity crisis.  These CICs are linked to the internet through Nepal’s CDMA cellular data network.  Essentially, this means entire villages of rural Nepalis get email and browse the internet through the equivalent of the cellular phone you carry in your pocket.

Cellular reception throughout Syangja is often poor.  CDMA bandwidth is billed by the minute, and as CICs become increasingly popular costs are rising to prohibitive levels.  Often, shared connections at CDMA speeds are not fast enough to support today’s high bandwidth internet.  Stuck on slow connections, many Nepali communities are being cut off from the electronic resources they need.

NRIDS has a plan to solve this connectivity crisis.  Using the same inexpensive wi-fi hardware installed in homes and coffeshops throughout the western world, NRIDS hopes to build a wireless repeater on a high ridge-top at Kharsuko Lake.  This wireless network will link Syangja’s CICs with each other, and with a high-speed internet connection in the major city of Pokhara only 50 km away.

A CIC manager checks out new computers in Syangja district

A wireless network would enable Syangja’s CICs to offer new services to improve the lives of local citizens:

  • Faster, more stable internet access at a fraction of the cost
  • Free voice and video calls from one networked village to another
  • Affordable international calls to family working abroad, allowing conversations on a weekly instead of monthly basis
  • Telemedicine programs to connect doctors in Pokhara’s hospitals with rural clinics in Syangja
  • Centrally hosted services to give businesses and communities a presence on the internet

Proposed Syangja Network

NRIDS has technically skilled volunteers willing to implement this project for free, but has no funds to purchase the necessary radios and antennas.  All it takes to make this network possible is USD $8000. Please donate now by clicking the button to the right of this page and help connect residents of Syanjga with each other and the rest of the world.